Do They Love It?

When authors (or songwriters) create, they're usually faced with a dilemma:  in order for someone to read their book (or listen to their song) through to the end, that person has to love it.  Not like it, love it.  It's like dating.  Everyone says "If they only got to know me, they'd find out how great I am."  The truth is, the people who are successful in dating are the ones who inspire that fascination from the get-go.

 

That doesn't mean successful daters are going to have successful relationships.  They just present themselves that way.  Same with those folks whose works you don't like, who have gotten their books and music into airports and grocery-stores:  they created something an agent or a publisher loved, at least for a little while.

 

"Now hold on, Adam!"  I hear you say.  "I don't want to create something just to sell it.  I have something to say!  I'm filled with the burning desire to express my unique self, not just to write what people want to read."

 

Okay.  So now we're stuck.  Someone needs to love it, you need to write what you love, and those two things are usually separated by a big gulf.

 

So I'd suggest the task is this:  Keep doing what you love, and get better at showing people why you love it.  If you've written a book that nobody seems to want to read, even though you think it's awesome, what changes will you make to to get people to see what you love about it more clearly?  A better cover?  A book tour promoting the topic of your book?  Getting rid of the first ten chapters, even though you thought that it was great writing?

 

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind how you feel about those books, those songs, those celebrities you love, especially the ones that inspire you.  They're everywhere!  What are they doing to communicate what they love to you?

 

Need ideas?  Write me.  Have ideas?  Leave a comment.

 

Love,

Adam

6 comments

  • Aunt Marilyn

    Aunt Marilyn

    Good thoughts, Adam. I would love to see your smiling eyes looking at me instead of away in your photo. The eye contact for the viewer is important. Love you. Aunt Marilyn

    Good thoughts, Adam.

    I would love to see your smiling eyes looking at me instead of away in your photo. The eye contact for the viewer is important. Love you. Aunt Marilyn

  • Adam

    Adam

    Good comment, Aunt Marilyn! I have other photos that do look the viewer in the eye. I like this one because I'm looking at the website content! It redirects people to the words that I want them to see. What do you all think?

    Good comment, Aunt Marilyn!

    I have other photos that do look the viewer in the eye. I like this one because I'm looking at the website content! It redirects people to the words that I want them to see.

    What do you all think?

  • Bobbi Kornblit

    Bobbi Kornblit

    Dear Adam, I think you're on to something! Yes, an agent or publisher must fall in love with a work in order to put it in print: or believe there is an audience who will respond. Of course, that all begins with the writer feeling that the piece is complete and is the best that it can be. Wish me luck in finding an agent for my latest manuscript about Hollywood. I enjoyed the journey with my current novel, SHELTER FROM THE TEXAS HEAT, and I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my literary career. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your blog. By the way, I like your photo and think it's very engaging! I can't wait to read your latest novel. Bobbi

    Dear Adam,

    I think you're on to something! Yes, an agent or publisher must fall in love with a work in order to put it in print: or believe there is an audience who will respond. Of course, that all begins with the writer feeling that the piece is complete and is the best that it can be.

    Wish me luck in finding an agent for my latest manuscript about Hollywood. I enjoyed the journey with my current novel, SHELTER FROM THE TEXAS HEAT, and I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my literary career.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your blog. By the way, I like your photo and think it's very engaging! I can't wait to read your latest novel.

    Bobbi

  • Jason Lyon

    Jason Lyon

    Difficult one this. Just because it's possible to market rubbish to make it a commercial hit doesn't mean that every commercial hit is rubbish. Nor is every undiscovered genius actually a genius. Perhaps we just create for the simple reason that we have no choice. It's what we do. It's gratifying if people like it, buy it or even get the T-shirt, but we'd do it anyway, wouldn't we? The world keeps turning and we find a way to pay the bills. The world must be peopled. You don't make a profession out of writing by locking yourself away and spending 10 years producing the 21st Century answer to Moby Dick then hoping someone will recognise it for what it is within your lifetime. You hack away. Same for musicians. And I know one extremely talented painter who got a name for himself for portraiture of the well-to-do - and hated it. He gave it up and he's happier now, but lost his studio and had to move out of town. Did I say he's happier now? Well, sometimes - last time I saw him he said he might be regretting the decision. So should we change what we do to chase commercial success? Well, I suppose we can try, if we want to, but unless we catch the right wave, there's no guarantee of success. Then we'll have changed what we do for nothing. And if we do catch that wave, we might become popularly known for something that isn't what we actually do. A lot of the most commercially successful writers, musicians, artists and so forth aren't really any different from the hundreds of thousands you've never heard of. Most of them admit it, at least in confidence. They just do what they do, and were fortunate enough to catch a big wave. Is creativity a profession, an art, or a craft? Yes to all three, but you never quite know the blend. Meanwhile, I would say keep doing it. But I'd add that if you need to be urged to keep doing it, you might be in it for the wrong reasons to start with.

    Difficult one this.

    Just because it's possible to market rubbish to make it a commercial hit doesn't mean that every commercial hit is rubbish. Nor is every undiscovered genius actually a genius.

    Perhaps we just create for the simple reason that we have no choice. It's what we do. It's gratifying if people like it, buy it or even get the T-shirt, but we'd do it anyway, wouldn't we? The world keeps turning and we find a way to pay the bills. The world must be peopled.

    You don't make a profession out of writing by locking yourself away and spending 10 years producing the 21st Century answer to Moby Dick then hoping someone will recognise it for what it is within your lifetime. You hack away. Same for musicians. And I know one extremely talented painter who got a name for himself for portraiture of the well-to-do - and hated it. He gave it up and he's happier now, but lost his studio and had to move out of town. Did I say he's happier now? Well, sometimes - last time I saw him he said he might be regretting the decision.

    So should we change what we do to chase commercial success? Well, I suppose we can try, if we want to, but unless we catch the right wave, there's no guarantee of success. Then we'll have changed what we do for nothing. And if we do catch that wave, we might become popularly known for something that isn't what we actually do.

    A lot of the most commercially successful writers, musicians, artists and so forth aren't really any different from the hundreds of thousands you've never heard of. Most of them admit it, at least in confidence. They just do what they do, and were fortunate enough to catch a big wave.

    Is creativity a profession, an art, or a craft? Yes to all three, but you never quite know the blend.

    Meanwhile, I would say keep doing it. But I'd add that if you need to be urged to keep doing it, you might be in it for the wrong reasons to start with.

  • Adam

    Adam

    Bobbi: Thanks to you for inspiring the blog this week! I'm a quarter of the way through SHELTER FROM THE TEXAS HEAT and looking forward to more. I think in order for the author to feel that their piece is complete, they must decide that they have created something someone else could love, or they can communicate to someone why they love what they've created. In my experience, I loved something I wrote, but because I didn't meet the above criteria I couldn't get anyone to read it, which left me very confused and frustrated. I love A NOTE BEFORE DYING. I love my characters, and from the reactions I've been getting, other people love them too. I also love the thought of getting to know the characters better.

    Bobbi: Thanks to you for inspiring the blog this week! I'm a quarter of the way through SHELTER FROM THE TEXAS HEAT and looking forward to more. I think in order for the author to feel that their piece is complete, they must decide that they have created something someone else could love, or they can communicate to someone why they love what they've created. In my experience, I loved something I wrote, but because I didn't meet the above criteria I couldn't get anyone to read it, which left me very confused and frustrated. I love A NOTE BEFORE DYING. I love my characters, and from the reactions I've been getting, other people love them too. I also love the thought of getting to know the characters better.

  • Adam

    Adam

    Jason, my friend! I'm so glad to see your words again. Your own posts (everyone visit http://jasonlyonjazz.wordpress.com/ for the most informative, helpful, and friendly posts on the jazz life I've ever seen) are so successful because they exude the love you show for your subject. Equally so, the books you wrote. The humor and playfulness is in there, and the patience to delve into the subject to the level that keeps it interesting without any hint of showing off. Creating a product that people will love, or communicating that love to others, is no guarantee of success. However, I'm of the opinion that without it, success is about as likely as Christmas at Ground Zero. Your painter friend created a product that people loved (portraits of themselves) even though he hated doing it. You may also create something that nobody seems to love, but if it has your love in it, and especially if you can explain why you love it, someone may eventually get curious and see it from your point of view (James Joyce Ulysees, anyone?) Derek Sivers did a remarkable piece about "first followers," in which he describes how important that first group of folks are who love what you've done, because they're the ones who start the big fire. Not you...THEM. Why they fall in love or how they fall in love is up to you, and there are numerous solutions. I'm not saying you should change your product to find commerical success. I'm saying, if you want to connect with someone, either at a commercial level or even a personal level, you have to ensure your work inspires love in some way, and that may require making changes to express it. Yes? No?

    Jason, my friend! I'm so glad to see your words again. Your own posts (everyone visit http://jasonlyonjazz.wordpress.com/ for the most informative, helpful, and friendly posts on the jazz life I've ever seen) are so successful because they exude the love you show for your subject. Equally so, the books you wrote. The humor and playfulness is in there, and the patience to delve into the subject to the level that keeps it interesting without any hint of showing off.

    Creating a product that people will love, or communicating that love to others, is no guarantee of success. However, I'm of the opinion that without it, success is about as likely as Christmas at Ground Zero. Your painter friend created a product that people loved (portraits of themselves) even though he hated doing it. You may also create something that nobody seems to love, but if it has your love in it, and especially if you can explain why you love it, someone may eventually get curious and see it from your point of view (James Joyce Ulysees, anyone?)

    Derek Sivers did a remarkable piece about "first followers," in which he describes how important that first group of folks are who love what you've done, because they're the ones who start the big fire. Not you...THEM. Why they fall in love or how they fall in love is up to you, and there are numerous solutions. I'm not saying you should change your product to find commerical success. I'm saying, if you want to connect with someone, either at a commercial level or even a personal level, you have to ensure your work inspires love in some way, and that may require making changes to express it.

    Yes? No?

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